Family Ties

My most recent trip to the garden was preceded by a day chock full of errands and activities. This should come as little surprise, however, since it seems that every day since the end of March has been pretty well full of errands and activities.

James and I are gearing up for our wedding in mid-June, so we are definitely in the crunch zone… and we’ve been there for the past month! I’ll have to post some of our wedding craziness soon (once the wedding’s over, that is).

But, I digress… this trip to the garden was extra special because my mom was with me. Mom and the rest of my family still resides in South Louisiana — my entire ancestral geography all within a radius of about 80 miles, in fact. She’s in town for the wedding and — since time doesn’t stand still in the garden — we had to still make the trek out to the garden site even though mom had been on a train for over 18 hours.

We love spending time together, of course, so it wasn’t such a bad thing to be running the roads all day. Fortunately James was able to drive us out there rather than our having to make the two-trains-and-a-car-ride commute that is the usual mid-week route!


The first thing I noticed when we arrived at the garden was that the tomatoes were taking off BIG TIME. I was giddy with excitement to see their progress — all of them so healthy and green and their stems so stocky and fuzzy. And — lo and behold — we’ve got eensy green tomatoes on all of the Silvery Fir tomatoes! All of the other varieties have blossoms, of course.

Mom — never willing to stand on the sidelines — helped me tie the tomatoes’ new growth to their stakes. We also had to prune off the suckers from a lot of the plants (some of the plants had gone past the pruning stage in certain areas, but c’est la vie).

While we worked, we talked of memories of her father, my late-grandfather, Robert. According to everyone who met him, I’m merely a modern replica of his face and physique. I’m told, also, that I inherited much of his temperament, his love of music, and his love of growing his own food.

Mom spent much of her childhood and early teen years in my grandfather’s fields — planting, weeding, harvesting, etc. As familial relationships go, their relationship was a very complicated and strained one for so many reasons and — in the way that time and life have a way of mending things when given room and nurturing — I think grandpa would be delighted to look down and see mom holding tomato plants as I tie them to the stakes; his life continuing in her and in me, and reconciling all of those hurts and mistakes.

Fresh out of the witness protection program, the pumpkins are alive and well. Be still my heart! They were so beautiful and perfect when I uncovered them — completely unblemished since they’d been protected by the summerweight fabric. Mom urged me to not thin the seedlings out. She felt they would be fine in pairs. So — appreciating the advice and hearing permission to not kill of any of the beautiful sprouts — I decided to leave them all in place.

Much to my dismay, it was time to thin out the giant zinnias. I hated to do it, but they absolutely need more space than they had. So, two were killed and one was spared in each spot. Ugh! Such heartache in tending a garden!

A grand drama is also taking place in the cabbage and carrot bed. It’s a high stakes gamble… who is the cabbage sprout and who is the WEED? Will the carrot sprouts make themselves distinguishable from the grass sprouts before the grass takes hold forever? One must go and one must stay! (string tremolo) Who will it be? Will Jason make the right choice or will he murder innocent cabbages and have a harvest of inedible weeds?? Stay tuned!
In happier news, the Autumn Beauty sunflower sprouts are all having a ball where they were planted along the northern fence line. I’ve been faithfully keeping the weeds at bay that are just inches away on the other side of the fence, knowing that the sunflowers will soon show those pesky weeds who is boss! But, for now, they need my help.

My tending of the sunflower sprouts being an allegory of my mom’s tending of me as a young sprout does not escape my notice. She became a mother at a very young age, herself, and yet she managed to insure that I had space and opportunity to grow and blossom. And, even now, since James and I, being a gay couple, face a lot of challenges from all directions, knowing that I have my mother’s support and love does a lot to keep the weeds of life from invading my space.IMG_0470


~ by Jason on June 12, 2010.

5 Responses to “Family Ties”

  1. Good to see you guys working together and having a good time. I don’t know if mom got my voicemail but I called to see how her trip went and to be sure she was ok.

    Wish I would have put mulch-guards on our rows in our little garden! The weeds are terrible!! We have been getting a lot of rain down here and they are loving it!

    Have fun with mom! We love you and hope to see you soon!

    • Working with mom was a lot of fun… always good to hear a reassuring word about something as iffy as plants!

      Mulch has definitely been a life-saver for us between the beds (the soil gets VERY slippery when it’s wet). The plastic sheet mulching has also made weeding tons easier. It was pretty cheap when I ordered it online from Gardener’s Supply, but later in the spring I spotted it in Lowe’s and felt foolish for having paid shipping!! 😦 Oh well… better that I had it when I needed it than having gotten it for cheap when I no longer needed it, I suppose.

      (love you too!)

  2. OMG, you guys are getting married and you didn’t mention it until now?!?! I have no time to send flowers! 😦 Gosh, congratulations!!! I’m so excited for you! Can I put anymore !!! marks in this comment? Yes! Post pictures, pretty please! And enjoy your special day! Will be thinking of you! 🙂

    • Thanks so much! 🙂 It was a very special day and it turned out more perfectly than we dared hope. 😀 I’ll definitely be posting pictures as soon as we get them from the photographer… probably will be a couple of weeks.

  3. Jason, I would have sold something to be able to make that trip to Chicago.I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.And your story was great it made me cry as you know I do 🙂 I know Paw Paw Willie watches you in your garden and smiles 🙂 Here at Fathers Day Time I’m thinking of him so much.I enjoyed myself and got so much needed rest and Of course not enough J & J time!!!!!!!! I can’t wait to see the new garden pictures after we got back from Wisconsin !!!! Was everything ok while we were away? Don’t Forget to place some buckets or something out to catch water so you can water without bringing tons with you…. I love you and Miss both of you !!!! Waiting to hear when I can come back 🙂
    Or should I say when I should come back. Oh How’s Marty&Ollie ? Keep up your post on things I love them all.
    Love Mom 🙂

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